• Yoghurt and raspberry cake... thank you Matthew Evans! (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Over many years, some of our most beloved recipes have been created by Matthew Evans - wholefood meat lover and passionate foodie farmer.
By
7 Oct 2020 - 10:11 PM  UPDATED 14 Oct 2020 - 1:09 AM

Matthew Evans has had an ongoing relationship with SBS Food for more than a decade. He contributed to Feast magazine, created three-part series For The Love of Meat, made the eye-opening documentary What's The Catch? and, of course, is our all-time favourite Gourmet Farmer.

As well as providing thought-provoking commentary on the state of food in our nation, over the years Matthew has created almost three hundred treasured recipes for us. So, let's just say that choosing favourites has not been an easy task.

 It simply wouldn't be a Matthew Evans recipe if it wasn't destined to gather a table of friends and family together.

A philosophy of abundance

To help us out, we decided to stick to Matthew's own food philosophy. Which means a focus on recipes that encourage us to grow as much of our own food as we can. For many with the means to do so, it might mean self-producing the bulk of a recipe's fruit and vegetables. For most of us, it means shopping carefully for sustainable ingredients at a trusted grocer, fishmonger or butcher.

Hopefully, for all of us, it can mean at least growing the abundant herbs Matthew uses in his recipe. And by all means, sharing the food we cook with others. It simply wouldn't be a Matthew Evans recipe if it wasn't destined to gather a table of friends and family together.

The basics

These are the recipes that taught us that we can cook pretty much anything from scratch, with a little Gourmet Farmer know-how.

No-knead pizza

No-knead pizza

If you can make pizza dough, with a little flour and yeast, you've got yourself a meal. This particular recipe makes the top of our favourites list because it's probably the easiest meal you'll ever pull together.

Passata

Tomatoes and time make the best passata.

You'll need a good passata to go with that pizza dough, and Matthew shows the way. Tomatoes, and lots of them, are pureed and preserved to bring a little late summer magic to dishes all year 'round.

Cornbread

A skillet of cornbread made with buttermilk and polenta is a skillet of happiness.

A recipe from Matthew's Feast magazine days, cornbread is such an easy bread to make. And also extremely delicious. Try it with one of these soups:

Garlic soup

A true comfort dish, go for fresh, local garlic.

Beetroot and bacon soup

Fresh horseradish lifts this soup from the very good to the sublime. In its absence you could use a top-notch bottled version.

Stinging nettle and potato soup

We like to get our own back on the weeds that invade our farm, and this soup is just the thing to pay back stinging nettles. You’ll need to use gloves and long sleeves and slacks when you harvest them and prepare them, but once cooked, they taste terrific and the sting is gone. In the absence of nettles, flavour the soup with spinach, silverbeet, or a smaller amount of sorrel.

Haloumi

Matthew Evans shares his tips for making haloumi at home.

Who knew haloumi was this easy to make? Oh, that sweet, squeaky giver of life. Thanks to Matthew, this is our "first cheese to try", with the understanding that we could go forth and make every other kind of cheese. We are so very clever. More secret haloumi conquering tips here:

Haloumi at home
Making cheese is one of those miracle moments. Get the pro tips on how to make one of the best, and easiest, cheeses: haloumi! #GourmetFarmer

Sauerkraut

Don't overlook this humble vegetable.

Pickling of every kind is Matthew's kind of thing. This easy sauerkraut recipe is one he shared with us years ago and no doubt has been made millions of times, by thousands of different hands, since then.

Fermented zucchini

The glut of zucchini has us using every trick in the book to try to preserve their delicate flavour. Fermenting extends their life, and keeps that ethereal flavour that is so readily lost when you pickle using vinegar.

Indian-style salted lime pickle

When I first met my partner, Sadie, she didn’t let on that her family recipe for salted lime pickle was a thing of wonder. It was only after I wooed her for a few months that a small, unassuming jar of pickle was brought from the fridge and delivered with characteristic understatement. In it, I found a perfect accompaniment to curries. And now that the secret is out, Fat Pig Farm is happy to share the recipe with you, too.

Meaty love

You'll have a full heart to match a full stomach when you make one of these special meals for your people. Vegetarian options to follow...

Slow-roasted beef brisket

This brisket, served with a giant plate of homemade veggies, feels like everything Matthew stands for. It's a low and slow kind of dish that uses a lesser-known cut of meat that seems to expand to feed the masses. We can smell the party already.

Ossobuco with gremolata

This Italian dish is made using the sliced shin of veal or beef, the name meaning literally ‘bone hole’ after the marrow bones you use. Essentially a lovely stew, the crowning glory is the zesty gremolata added at the end.

Braised beef cheeks with ginger and lemongrass

This low and slow stew suits Sadie's palate for Asian spices and Matthew's love of European food.

Beef shin daube

Beef shin is an excellent cut of meat for slow-cooking and this recipe from Matthew Evans showcases classic casserole flavours in carrot, celery, onion and red wine. Serve any excess sauce with pasta tomorrow.

Jerk pork

A barbie favourite that is literally packed with herbs and spice. The chilli paste is left to marinade overnight, resulting in fall-off-the-bone tender meat that packs a mean punch. On reflection, this jerk pork is rather aptly named...

Mussel paella

This mussel paella makes us want to hire a boat and up anchor Gourmet Farmer Afloat-style. Failing that, a quick trip to the fishmonger and it's anchors away on a real crowd pleasing dish that takes no time at all.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

In Italian, this dish translates to ‘spaghetti of the prostitute’. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but garlic, anchovies and capers don’t seem like the most obvious thing to eat before going to work. Or it could be that, historically, the name comes from the fact that this dish is very quick to cook and eat.

Clam and fregola soup

I’ve been inspired by Giovanni Pilu’s A Sardinian Cookbook to make a seafood soup with fregola – the island’s famed, small round pasta. You could use moghrabieh (Middle Eastern pearl couscous); just toast it in a dry pan first, swirling the pan the whole time over a medium–high heat. If you buy the vacuum-packed, cleaned clams, there’s no need to purge them.

Flash-fried prawns with tomato, bay leaves and garlic

I just adore prawns, even though none come from my island home. I buy frozen green prawns for this, because unless you’re very close to the source, frozen does actually make a better uncooked product.

This mussel paella makes us want to hire a boat and up anchor Gourmet Farmer Afloat-style.

Beer-sozzled chicken

The name alone makes us want to try this recipe. This is the first chicken dish Matthew cooked when he moved to Puggle Farm. It's fitting that his first dish should become an enduring favourite - consistency has always been his thing.

Bohémienne 

Bohémienne is a French tomato and eggplant casserole that feeds a crowd. Plonk it in the centre of the table with a basket of crusty bread and watch it contentedly disappear. 

Cotechino with lentils

We've included this dish to showcase what Matthew does best: encouraging us to seek food that's a little left of our everyday centre. He's a true foodie who entices us to try every aspect of the food that's available to us. This recipe will have you Googling 'cotechino near me' within moments.

Roast goose with sage and hazelnut stuffing

Goose meat is very rich, and there’s not a lot of meat on the birds, so I make sure there are plenty of vegetables on the side and plenty of roast skin on the bird.

Rabbit stifado

Matthew Evans provides the rabbits for this traditional Greek recipe, wherein the meat is browned then slow-cooked with onion, garlic and spices, resulting in a richly flavoured stew.

Cassoulet with lamb, pork and goose

Cassoulet is a bean dish that is heady with meats cooked or cured in different ways. On the show we used a home-kill lamb and goose, but you can adapt using your own meats. It’s a fantastic, must-share recipe that makes a lot, so use an enormous pot, or divide into two and keep one for another day.

All about the veggies

Matthew Evans is a proud veggie farmer, growing most of what he serves in his Fat Pig Farm restaurant and at his own table.

Leafy greens pie

Our Gourmet Farmer extends his 'nose to tail' philosophy to eating the whole vegetable, too. As well as good-old garden spinach, this generous leafy greens pie is made with the tops of carrots, radishes and turnips, plus foraged nettles.

Spring green risotto

"I don’t mind stirring risotto after work – it’s a good way to unwind. This recipe is a favourite when the new season peas and asparagus are about. Just get someone else to pod the peas..." Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat

Ratatouille

When we want to make a pot of goodness, Mathew's slow-cooked ratatouille is what we make.

Gorgonzola pasta

Matthew is a man who simply loves cheese. His best friend and sometime business partner Nick Haddow owns Bruny Island Cheese Co, which makes the kind of Tasmanian cheese we would gladly move states for. While Nick doesn't make gorgonzola, we can still picture the pair of them sitting down to a meal of this rich pasta, as content as two Jersey cows in a clover field.

Cheese scrolls

This recipe relies on the quality of the dough and the quality of the cheese, so don’t scrimp on either. Rough puff pastry is a lot easier to make than the conventional version, but is still light, puffy and deliciously buttery. In its absence, use a good store-bought butter puff pastry. Cheap pastry with margarine simply won’t taste anywhere near as nice. They’re best eaten the same day, but can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two.

Cauliflower cheese

I’ve been playing around with cauliflower since I was a boy, ever since a bloke named Norm showed me a simple way to serve this underrated winter veg. Here is my latest version.

Welsh rarebit

After a fresh take on the classic cheese toastie? Try Matthew Evans’ Welsh Rarebit. This dish combines cheddar and pale beer with a hit of Dijon mustard. Top it with a poached egg and it becomes a 'Welsh Buck'.

While Nick doesn't make gorgonzola, we can still picture the pair of them sitting down to a meal of this rich pasta, as content as two Jersey cows in a clover field.

Baked beans

Vine-cutters baked beans

Slow-cooked hearty baked beans that are a world away from the insipid tinned variety. We'd happily make them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make that breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Desserts for dinner

There's one more thing that Matthew Evans specialises in: stick-to-your-ribs cakes and bakes that are substantial enough to stand in for dinner.

Apple fritters

We could write an entire round-up on Matthew's apple recipes, but here are a few stand outs. The boozy apple fritters are an unusual dessert, but definitely a must-try. Also stunning:

Baked apples with marzipan and bush honey

Homemade marzipan is a far cry from the artificial-tasting almond essence flavour that most of us grew up with.

Apple and saffron teacake

It’s best to soak the saffron overnight to extract as much flavour as you can. With a pinch, you can do it for a few hours, or even heat the milk and saffron to speed up the process. You will need a 22 cm springform pan for this recipe.

Apple and sour cream slice

Matthew Evans' apple and sour cream slice is a great way to use granny smith apples. While best eaten the day it's made, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.

Yoghurt cake

Yoghurt and raspberry cake... thank you Matthew Evans!

You are not alone in wanting to dive straight into this yoghurt and raspberry cake.

You really can't beat fruit to end a meal... especially when buttery crumble is involved.

Rhubarb crumble

Notice the fruit-heavy deliciousness that is Matthew's choice of dessert? All part of his 'grow your own' food philosophy and a good reminder that you really can't beat fruit to end a meal... especially when buttery crumble is involved.

Chocolate cake

Matthew Evan's chocolate cake

There are so many good cakes to choose from, but we couldn't resist this classic prize-winner. No, really, third place at the Bream Creek Show. Now that's worth bragging about.

You can watch all the Gourmet Farmer episodes on SBS On Demand here.

Don't forget about PIE
Leek and bacon tartlets

This pastry recipe makes an excellent short, savoury casing perfect for tartlets or pies, such as goat pies, or one of our favourites, this one, using leeks, eggs and bacon from the farm.

Sweet potato and spring garlic tart

"The cheese, nuts and eggs in this tart contain all the protein you need for a great meat-free option. Spring garlic is the first garlic of the season, before the papery skin develops. If you can’t find spring garlic, you could use young leeks instead. Otherwise, regular garlic cloves will do – just make sure you peel them." Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat

Spicy lamb keema pasties

"Keema is a dish from the sub-continent often made with mutton. It can be served on rice, in samosas, and you’ll also find it served in buns on highways in India. I’ve added more vegetables to the mix here, which makes for a great pastie filling. If you don’t have time to make your own pastry, these are equally delicious made using store-bought filo (see Note)." Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat

Steak and kidney pies

Made with a rich yoghurt cream pastry and brimming with a hearty steak and kidney filling, this is serious winter comfort food.

Nettle filo pies

I used to make filo by stretching it out thinly like strudel dough, until I read Wild Weed Pie by famed Greek expat and one-time Sydney chef Janni Kyritsis. I’ve used his method for this, which is slightly sturdier, perfect for taking on a picnic. If you can’t get hold of nettles, substitute silverbeet or a mix of greens. We find eating nettles is a good way to clean up the paddocks.

Lemon brûlée tart

This sprightly tart has a lovely lemon tang and the richness of cream. You will need a 24 cm tart pan with removable base to make this recipe.

Lamb and rosemary pies

Any leftover filling can be served as a stew with baked potatoes or frozen for up to 1 month. The pastry is an excellent short, savoury version that’s perfect for pies. You can use store-bought pastry, but this yoghurt cream version is what really makes this pie. Be careful, as it’s really short and it’s often best to simply press it into place rather than trying to roll it out, especially in warm weather.

Apple and blackberry pie with lemon leaf custard

Apples are in peak season during autumn and Matthew Evans’ apple and blackberry pie is a delicious way to use up your surplus. Lemon leaves add a citrus hint to the custard that works brilliantly with the blackberries in this pie. 

Pigeon pie